Letter: Increasing success of alternative cancer treatments

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The Independent Online
Sir: All of us at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre would like to thank you for the coverage you gave today to the retraction of the damaging Chilvers report which affected the centre in 1990 ('News of death greatly exaggerated'). We feel, however, that the article may paint too gloomy a picture of the present state of affairs, as we are now enjoying a very significant recovery in our patient numbers and the restoration of our previous co-operative relationship with the medical profession.

In the past three months we have taken our mobile teams into the oncology departments of Mount Vernon Hospital, Middlesex; Newcastle General Hospital and Liverpool John Moores University. Our teaching courses for nurses, doctors and health care practitioners are full into the new year. We are now quite clear that the long-term effects of the Chilvers report has been to rally medical support, and this process is being helped by the regular publication of articles by yourself and other leading newspapers on the evidence for the role of vitamins, minerals and meditation in cancer treatment.

This year's British Medical Association guidelines show that 35 per cent of doctors already use complementary therapies, and 80 per cent of junior doctors wish to be trained in them. This year's report from the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts reveals that 65 per cent of area health authorities are already supporting the integration of complementary therapies into the National Health Service.

I feel that we must now all acknowledge that there is no longer a battle to be fought and that co-

operation and mutual education is the way forward. Patients are demanding the best of both worlds, orthodox and complementary, and the Cancer Help Centre is extremely happy to be playing a

major teaching role in this re-

integrative process.

Yours faithfully,


Therapy Development Officer

Bristol Cancer Help Centre



15 November